The headache started when the airport security employee ran the scanner over him. The drone of the scanner was jarring, and Jim couldn't believe no on else was complaining - until he saw Blair laugh and flirt with the woman when she checked him over. He was standing on one foot, and wiggling a sock clad toe, saying "Man, am I glad I wore the ones without holes today." Apparently Jim's reaction was abnormal. Another thing to hate about being a Sentinel.
Inspection over, they walked to the seating area near where their plane was going to come in. Jim settling down for an attempt at a moment's peace, and Blair hopping up to stand at the window, and watch as jets landed and took off again. Jim had to laugh, watching Blair. He could see the little boy Blair must once have been, irrepressible and inquisitive, just like he was now. Still, he was sad at the thought of how much time Blair must have spent in airports, waiting for his mother to come back from one of her jaunts.
But there were many things to love about being a Sentinel as well, the most important of which was currently engrossed in watching the activity of Cascade's international airport. If it weren't for his Sentinel ability, Blair Sandburg would never have given him a first look, much less a second. And Jim would never be able to inhale Blair's singular warm and leafy scent, or feel the life thrumming under his skin, and know everything was going to be all right.
Feeling the need to be close to his partner, Jim walked up beside him. Blair didn't turn to look at him, he just kept staring at the tarmac. But he moved closer, close enough for Jim to feel the comforting heat of Blair's shoulder and thigh as Blair pressed himself next to him.
"Hey." Blair's voice was soft. Jim knew he was saying more than a haphazard greeting. This particular 'hey' meant, "Are you all right? I care about you, and I know you don't want to talk right now."
"Yeah." Jim brushed his hand with Blair's. He wished he could touch Blair the way he wanted, all the time, but didn't feel comfortable doing that while they were still in Cascade. A handful of people knew about their relationship, but they were by no means out about it in general. As much as he hated it, Blair understood why such subterfuge was necessary.
But this weekend was going to be different. Three days in Chicago, just for them. No cases to worry about, or papers to present. Pizza and Barbecue and Blues. A day at the Field Museum and Oriental Institute for Blair, Santana at ChicagoFest for Jim. Of course they'd both share in each other's happiness. Jim couldn't wait. He just hoped he could survive the flight.
The pre-boarding call went out for people who needed extra time, and aside from the three in wheelchairs, Jim counted sixteen families with infants or toddlers. Ten of them were screaming. Jim could tell it was going to be a very long flight. He wished he'd remembered to take his earplugs, but in the hustle of getting ready to go, they'd been forgotten. Actually, most of it had been the hustle of seeing Blair in those jeans, bending over the suitcase. Despite the stress to their schedule, Jim had just had to have him. He'd dug the supplies out of the kit, and fucked Blair quickly, but thoroughly. Jim's strong hand on Blair's cock at the same time ensured Blair had no complaints, either.
They'd left half an hour later than they had planned, but still arrived with time to spare. Jim was no idiot; he always fudged on their planned arrivals. Usually it was because Blair's tangents tended to make them late, but this time it was all his doing.
Finally, it was their turn to board. Blair had balked at Jim's suggestion they fly first class. Jim had wanted the trip to be a treat for Blair, but hadn't been able to convince him it was worth Jim's extra money. "We can splurge on the hotel, if you want. But I don't see the point on a three hour flight."
When the announcer called out "Now boarding rows 30 through 35", Jim nudged Blair, and they walked onto the already crowded plane. As soon as he stepped onto it, Jim was sorry they hadn't driven instead. But he steeled himself to act like he was enjoying himself. No sense in bothering Blair about it. There was nothing he could do, and it would be over soon, if not soon enough for Jim's frazzled nerves.
Jim offered Blair the window seat, knowing Blair would enjoy looking out over the clouds. "Okay, man. But you get it on the way home, or we can switch for the landing. I want to see how much you can see from up here. Wouldn't it be cool if you could see down into the little monopoly board houses?"
Jim laughed at Blair's description. "Sure, Blair. The human telescope, that's me." Still, the idea amused him. Using his senses for fun was something he rarely got to do back at home.
Luckily, no one was sitting next to them, so there was a little more room than there might have been. Jim felt secure enough to lean over and nuzzle Blair's shoulder. "Doing okay, Chief?" Blair turned and grinned at him.
"I am great, man! I'm so excited about this trip. I can't wait to get there. This is going to be so damn cool." He was practically bouncing in his seat. Seeing Blair's happiness almost made Jim's headache go away.
But not quite. While Blair opened his journal in case he wanted to jot down a few notes "I don't know why, Jim, but I always get important thoughts when I'm on planes", Jim assessed the plane and its passengers and crew. Dialing up his senses just a tad, he could hear everything that was going on. The crew's discussions with the control tower - everything sounded fine, as far as he could tell. The cacophony from a dozen different CD players, each playing something different. A handful of people tapping away on laptops, and muttering to themselves. Even on planes, people tended to talk as they wrote. Louder, and more annoying than the musical mish-mash was the shrill whine of the infants and irritated toddlers. Jim couldn't blame them. The pressure on their little ears would be painful, and they had no way to understand why things felt so odd. He felt sorry for them, but not sorry enough not to wish they'd shut the hell up.
Aside from the inescapable sounds, the scents were awful as well. What might be barely tolerable in an open space was unbearable in the containment of an airplane. A woman's light touch of perfume was overpowering when combined with forty others. A man's aftershave was an alcoholic wave pressing over Jim. And the layers of baby powder on top of baby pee were almost more than he could take. Every time a mother carried her infant towards the bathroom to change him or her, Jim nearly gagged.
He bent his head between his knees, and waited for it to be over.
"Oh, Jim. I'm so sorry. I didn't think about how bad it all would be for you. Can you turn the dials down? And why aren't you wearing your earplugs?"
"I'm trying. It doesn't seem to be working very well. And I left the earplugs at home. Kinda got distracted."
"Oh, yeah." Blair couldn't help a wicked grin in remembrance. "That was a lot of fun. Okay, we're going to have to do this manually. I think I know what'll work. Come on." Blair got up, and nudged Jim out into the aisle. He walked ahead of Jim, towards the bathroom. "You just need a little separation. Besides, if you can dial your senses down in here - with all the disinfectant and everything that makes it necessary, being out in the cabin will be a piece of cake."
"I know you, Chief. You just want to join the Mile High Club."
"Well, I do have that one fantasy... but I'd never try and get some when you're hurting. I really do want to help. Let me help, Jim, please. Listen to my voice, concentrate on me, only me." Blair slowed the pace of his words, and lowered the tone. It was almost hypnotic, and Jim was amazed as always to find how well it worked. Concentrating on Blair always soothed his pains, and eased his senses. He'd learned how to take all that Blair had to offer, consciously or not, and not zone out. Sometimes it was close, though. Blair was such a balm for his nerves.
"I have no problems with that plan, Blair. Concentrating on you is the best part of my life." Jim followed Blair's advice, centering his sense of smell on the heady mix or organic shampoo, herbal soap and the lingering remnants of arousal Blair himself carried. He kissed Blair, and the delectable tastes overpowered the inedible airline food. Blair's plush lips and soft skin made him forget the rough airline seats.
He would have liked to do more than kiss his partner, but he knew it was a crowded flight, and soon someone would come knocking, needing to use the facilities for their intended purpose. He begrudgingly let Blair go, and splashed some cool water on his face.
Able to focus all of his senses on Blair, he knew he could make it through the rest of the flight. But next time damn it, next time they had a vacation coming, they were staying home.
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